A machine that makes and delivers pizza in three minutes will make its appearance in offices and factories around Italy from next week.
The tomato-red machine, called Let's Pizza, prepares the dish from scratch. A window in the front allows customers to watch as the flour is kneaded, the pizza disc formed, tomato paste and other ingredients spread on top and the finished creation baked under infra-red rays. Although Italians are extremely particular about their native foods and drinks, they have proved susceptible to the convenience of vending machines which do what they regard as a respectable job.
Machines which produce creditable versions of cappuccino, caffe machiato and other coffee varieties have become so popular nationwide that a hit television comedy series was located entirely in front of such a machine. Italy has more food vending machines in operation than any other country in Europe, most of them preparing coffee.
Claudio Torghele, the inventor of Let's Pizza, hopes the success of the coffee machines will rub off on his own device. "This is not just a vending machine, it's a mini-pizzeria. With the windows where you can watch the pizza being made, kids love it."
Traditional pizza makers are scathingly critical of the new device, but they will probably shrug off the competition, even if Let's Pizza is a success. Coffee machines have had little impact on Italy's thousands of espresso bars. And the one thing Let's Pizza cannot do is impart the aroma of a wood-burning oven.
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